“In almost every way our SAUCED Sunday series at Easy Does It has been different from our past events,” says Sarah Freeman. “Obviously the biggest difference is that they are happening during the day.” The SAUCED Night Market co-founder states the obvious but finding a space and partner that allowed SAUCED to maintain some of the same elements and ambiance as the night markets was no easy feat, as she explains. “I was lucky.”
SAUCED provides quite the shopping experience bringing together a hand-picked collection of Chicago emerging chefs, artists and makers—think shopping handmade goods, jewelry, clothing, apparel, prints and more with a drink in your hand, a DJ on the decks and a bite (from gourmet dishes, to boozy cupcakes, to street food, to ice cream) for when that ravenous late-night hunger hits.
From the Chicago Athletic Association to the House of Vans, the market was made to “pop up from the underground to make your nights more interesting—like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with less pizza and more steamed dumplings,” as they put it. But alas, the pandemic hit. “When it looked like COVID was going to be hanging around, I saw many market organizers such as myself struggle with how to continue to provide a platform for our vendors to succeed during a pandemic. Unfortunately, digital events don’t offer the same experience as in-person ones and many small businesses just can’t compete with the convenience of large online retailers,” says Freeman. “The SAUCED Sunday series came out of a goal to get back to in-person markets as soon as possible, in a safe and responsible way.”
Hence Easy Does It, a bar, patio and bottle shop space in Logan Square, became the market’s Sunday daytime home. The upcoming edition features minimalist-designed maps by This City Maps; leather goods by Hive and Hide; consciously crafted candles by Mecalma and artisan soaps by Blair Soap; Open Books, a nonprofit social venture that provides literacy experiences for tens of thousands of people; one of a kind resin jewelry and accessories by Dear Thistle; second hand apparel by Souvenir Regrets, and more. Saint Della will bring the pizza and Ravenswood’s small batch, handcrafted ice cream, Milky Milky Ice Cream will be popping up, too, because nothing beats ice cream on a hot day.
Vendors rotate frequently, providing a unique shopping experience while at the same time making space for newly founded small business ventures. “Coming out of the year of COVID has been all about creativity, and it’s been so exciting to see all of the new businesses that started during that year, many of which are making their market debut in this series,” says Freeman, who stresses the importance of shopping and supporting local. “Now is the time to get back to markets, whether it’s SAUCED or any of the other markets popping up around the city, and retrain your shopping habits after a year without such easy access to small businesses,” she adds. What is she most excited about moving forward? “I can’t wait to throw a big, stinkin’ party like we used to,” she says. “I’m optimistic about our return to full-sized indoor night markets by the fall, complete with a DJ and live art installations. Many of our vendors are still ramping back up and it will be so nice to get the fan-favorite SAUCED vendors as well as our new vendors under one roof.”
SAUCED Sunday @ Easy Does It, July 25, 12pm-5pm, check their website for dates through August, free to attend, 21+, 2354 North Milwaukee
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